Wednesday, August 17

Expansion plan will see additional capacity for 10,000 students


KOTA KINABALU: Masterskill University College of Health Sciences’ expansion plan will see an additional capacity for 10,000 students at its Kota Kinabalu Metro Campus in Likas.The ground-breaking ceremony for the RM50 million phase two development project was officiated by Sabah education exco Datuk Masidi Manjun, who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

According to Masterskill Education Group Berhad executive director and group CEO Datuk Seri Edmund Santhara, the expansion project is expected to be completed within 15 months.

“With the new building, the campus which currently has about 3,000 undergraduates, will be able to accommodate an additional 10,000 students,” Edmund said.

“In less than 18  months the campus is already reaching its maximum capacity, and this is why we decided to start the construction of the second phase of the campus sooner so that we can cater for the growing demand from Sabah,” he said at the event yesterday.

Other than this campus in Sabah, Masterskill has four other campuses nationwide, one in Sarawak and the other three in Peninsular Malaysia.

Sabahans, according to Edmund, are eager to learn and place high value on education, he said adding that Masterskill was committed to bring health sciences education to Sabah.

Masterskill’s presence in Kota Kinabalu is not only about meeting the critical need for nurses in the nation’s healthcare industry but more importantly it is about creating opportunities for Sabahans to lead a better life, he said.

“We also hope to assist to improve the socio economy of the locals by providing their children with the best future they can get so that they can help their families by contributing financially,” he stressed.

In his welcoming remarks, Edmund said Kota Kinabalu Metro Campus in Sabah was the fastest growing Masterskill campus in the country, growing from a few hundred students to almost 3,000 in just over a year after starting operations, making it the largest private college in the state.

In view of the overwhelming response received, he said, Masterskill was planning to increase the number of courses presently offered at the campus from seven to at least ten.

With the completion of the additional building, the Kota Kinabalu campus will also open its door to foreign students in line with the state government’s efforts to promote Sabah as a regional education hub.

According to Edmund, Masterskill has plans to offer 15 per cent to 20 per cent of its total capacity at the campus here to foreign students and expressed confidence that Sabah’s diversified and unique culture, beautiful nature as well as warm hospitality would attract students from overseas.

In conjunction with the ground breaking ceremony, Masterskill also  presented RM1 million in scholarships for students who excelled in their studies but are unable to afford to further their studies at its Kota Kinabalu campus.

Masterskill also distributed 550 netbooks, to first semester students at the campus, he said, adding that it allocated RM10 million for purchasing and distributing the study tool  among the students at all its campus for 2010.

At a press conference later, Edmund said graduates from Masterskill have good employment opportunities in countries such as Singapore and the Middle East.

“Our graduates from Sabah and Sarawak, because of the command in English, usually find it easy to get jobs in the health industry in Singapore.

“Also because of the college’s  Islamic perspective, the graduates are sought after in Middle Eastern countries as well as China, India and certain parts of Indonesia and the Philippines,” he said.

Masterskill’s accreditation is also recognised in commonwealth countries, meaning that its graduates can find employment in these places, he said, adding that the college is gaining global recognition.

When asked if there would be a saturation of graduates trained in health science in Malaysia as there are many private colleges offering the courses now, Edmund said no because the ratio for a nurse to a person in Malaysia was supposed to be 1:200.

“Nowadays it is 1:500, so the employment opportunities are there.

“This is coupled with the fact that there is an increase in the number of private hospitals throughout the country and these facilities will be needing many healthcare professionals,” he said.

Even the 1Malaysia clinic will require trained personnel and this is where the graduates come in, he said, adding that about 5,000 students have graduated from the campus here since it started 18 months ago.

He also told the media that the campus would aim for students from China as well as those from neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Philippines.

Meanwhile, Masidi said it was high time for Masterskill to look beyond Sabah and set their eyes on the fast growing population of BIMP-Eaga countries.

He noted that nurses from Malaysia are among the most sought-after healthcare professionals in the Mideast and even in Europe where they are recognised for their commendable discipline and friendliness.

In view of the huge demand and potential in healthcare sector, he said Masterskill should seriously consider upgrading its college campus in Sabah into a university dedicated to providing healthcare education to local and international students.